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Production Company Case Study

Meghan Young, Head Runner | December 2016


Meghan has worked as a runner in post production, recently transferring her skills to a production company. Meghan has worked in the film industry for three years.

What inspired you to enter the industry?

At university I studied Graphic Design, and began experimenting with cameras, filming what I could and creating moving image pieces. I just became fascinated with the whole process. From idea to post. And knew that’s what I wanted to do. I never minded what part of industry - I just wanted to be apart of the storytelling in which ever way I could. 

What career path did you take to get the position you currently hold, and what was your first ‘break’?

I think I’ve had about 5 different related internships and runner positions. I had two internships before my first job, both in distribution. Which was extremely helpful and insightful. And they helped me get my first job - running in post, which I stayed at for about 9 months. I worked my way up but decided that I didn’t want to edit or grade. I decided to leave it for production - and knew I’d have to start as a runner again. Which I had no problem with doing. As running in post / production are very different roles and I was excited for a change. 

10 months, a bakery job and two more internships later, I got a runner role at Academy films. My dream job.

So I wouldn’t say I had a path, or a particular break. Every job, internship and freelance cover work led me here. And of course, right time and place.

Can you tell us about the section of the industry you work in and the job you do? 

This running job is different to any other I had before, I’m responsible for two other runners, the running of the website, media management, design work, image research, casting, camera work running on set and the general running of the office. It’s busy, and everyday is different!

There is a lot of pressure, as what I have learnt in production is that everything has to be done very efficiently and preferably yesterday. You have to be quick, kind and simply work hard. I am very lucky to work with such a wonderful team.

I have the privilege of working in such a reputable institution, where I work alongside very talented directors and co workers, who inspire me everyday. From being here I can see what is possible, that my ambition to direct is reachable. Which when you are looking for work, can be hard to remember.

What one thing has surprised you most about working in the industry, and what have you found the most difficult to learn?

One thing that has surprised me is the presence of nepotism, its sometimes hard to see someone handed a job on the plate because of the ‘who you know not what you know’ mentality, when I’ve worked very hard to get in the door. But I’ve learnt that that doesn't matter, anyone can get through the door (I fought tooth and nail) its what you do once you get there that determines how you progress.

What has been the most memorable part of your career to date and how did it come about?

I once was on a shoot, in the countryside, with a lot of crew and not many runners. It was December, and not very well organised. My job was to ensure everyone was kept warm, with plenty of tea / coffee / snacks, the works, at all times. There were 3 locations, very far from each other. my hours were 7am - 1 / 2am both days.

I will never forget carrying two hot water urns across a field, in the mud and rain, to a very far away group. And as I slogged, the group dispersed, got in a car, and left. The location had moved. I turned around and began to walk across the field.

Those two days still stand as the hardest I’ve ever worked in my career.

What advice would you give to the school leavers, graduates, career changers who want to get into the industry, and what advice would you give to anyone wanting to take the same path as you?

Get as much experience as possible, paid or unpaid, experience is invaluable. Show your dream company that you have tried, and are trying, be it spending a month doing boring transcribing for a TV company you don’t even like, or dull office days not doing anything (because as interns, some companies don't actually give you anything to do) It all adds up. You will meet people in the same position, and you’ll meet important people. Take their email, build your contacts. Because all of them matter. Make a list, everywhere you’d love to work. Go to them, hand in your CV, email, get names. And when you email, make it personal, don't just send out your CV. Show interest in the company, watch work you like, get inspired, if you have one company where you want to work, keep trying, and don't give up.

If you want to change career path, do it. It’s scary and hard yes. It took me a long time and a lot of unemployment, but every email starting with ‘Unfortunately we don't have….’ email made me more determined. I even began to like those emails because at least they replied!

Ive had quite the journey, but I wouldn't change it. My experience in all parts of the industry helps me in my job everyday. From technical experience in post production to people skills. Ive worked in a lot of offices, and now I’m in my dream office. And I am not moving.

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